The military judge overseeing Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's case says prosecutors can try the soldier on a rare charge alleging he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
The judge, Col. Jeffery Nance, rejected a defense motion Thursday to dismiss the charge of misbehavior before the enemy, which carries up to a life sentence.
Bergdahl also faces a desertion charge, punishable by up to 5 years, at trial in October.
Defense lawyers said prosecutors used faulty logic to charge Bergdahl with a crime more serious than his underlying actions.
The judge acknowledged that case law is "scarce" because the misbehavior charge is so rarely used, but he said a soldier who leaves his post alone and without authorization should be aware he could face punishment.